September 10, 2015
NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Returns to Poppy Hills With St. Mary’s Invitational
NCAA men’s collegiate golf is back at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Beginning Monday, the 10th annual St. Mary’s Invitational makes its return to the new par-71 Poppy Hills, which re-opened in 2014 following a complete renovation.
The St. Mary’s Invitational was first held at Poppy Hills in 2005, but moved to Bayonet/Black Horse in 2010, where it had been held the last five years.
“St. Mary’s golf is thrilled to partner with Poppy Hills and the NCGA to host this event. We have a chance to provide a first-class experience to some outstanding college golf teams,” St. Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy said. “Poppy Hills will provide a challenging test among a beautiful setting. With the help of our sponsors we are working hard to go above and beyond the norm for a college golf tournament. We want to make this a tournament that the players want to play every year and I think we are well on our way to making happen.”
The three-day, 54-hole, stroke play Invitational field will consist of 15 teams and a total of 84 golfers. Joining the host Gaels will be University of Arizona, Brigham Young University, Fresno State, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Oregon State University, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Texas State University, UC Davis and Washington State University.
The highest ranked squad coming into the tournament, according to Golfstat, will be San Diego State at No.27. Next are UC Davis (No.56), University of San Diego (No.57) and the host Gaels (No.58).
Along with chasing the title, players in the tournament will more than likely also have their sights set on the Poppy Hills course record. St. Mary’s own Jonathan De Los Reyes set the mark, a 65, in the final round of July’s NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Poppy Hills is no stranger to hosting big-time NCAA men’s tournaments. Back in 1991, the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout hosted the 1991 NCAA Men’s Championship.
Then a junior at Arizona State University, Phil Mickelson finished 4th in the championship. Oklahoma State won the team title, while UNLV’s Warren Schutte was medalist with a score of 5-under 283. Here’s some highlights:
The University of Oregon holds the Invitational 54-hole team scoring record at 11-under 283, while CSU Northridge’s Chris Russo holds the individual record at 9-under 207. The lowest round ever shot during Invitational play is a 65 by former St. Mary’s standout and two-time NCGA Player of the Year Ben Geyer.
Play each day (Monday-Wednesday) will begin at 7:30 a.m.